L.A. Noire: The facial animations can creep anyone out, due to the amount of high detail with the facial scan. But what's even creepier is how much the characters' cutting-edge facial animations clash with their comically stiff bodily animations.
This video is all about this trope and how it applies to video games.
As is this one. Though it's more about video games in general than just people in said games. Skip to 3:30 to get to the part actually about the Uncanny Valley.
A rare example in which the trope is invoked in the story, the Replicas in Tales of the Abyss. Despite that they are quite stylized and thankfully don't try for realism (Which would definitely create the Uncanny Valley), they don't appear this way to the player. But to the characters in the world? They look exactly like someone they know, only they speak in a Creepy Monotone thanks to not having any memories of emotion (Like Luke and Ion did), and don't even remember you. Just about anyone would be freaked if their friend died...and a clone of them showed up at their funeral, or your long-dead grandfather walks into your house, doesn't recognize anyone and doesn't even know how to act socially.
Thief: Deadly Shadows gives us the fabulously creepy Shalebridge Cradle, an orphanage turned asylum though for a time, it was both. Inside, Garrett encounters the puppets, reanimated corpses of the worst inmates in the Cradle. Their rasping breathing is creepy by itself, but the true horror lies in their jerky, Jacob's Ladder-esque movements. It's just wrong.
Years earlier, Thief II: The Metal Age gave us Father Karras' twisted creations the Servants, with creepy, unblinking, expressionless golden masks adorning their faces.
In The Sims 2, you can change the parameters of character's faces, often causing this effect.
The sequel even causes uncanny faces when you design them properly, since the lighting in many situations leads to every Sim transforming into Doughboy-faced monstrosities.
Made even worse by 3rd party "realistic" skin textures that only highlight the fact the underlying 3D models are butt ugly.
Even regular Sims can look weird, depending on their expressions. Sims are prone to acting like there's something wrong with them, and it shows; especially with certain NPCs, like post-childhood Mortimer.
There's something terribly wrong with the dogs in The Sims 3 Pets, especially when they move in Create-A-Pet. Their facial expressions are too human, and many don't look like their actual breeds.
The cats in The Sims 2: Pets for Nintendo DS are just reskinned dogs. They don't move right (cats have very different gaits from dogs), don't act right (cats don't play-bow, they don't wag their tails when they're happy - a full-tail lash from a cat is an angry cat - they don't move their heads like dogs do when vocalizing or sniffing...), and are in general creepy as heck if you spend any time around cats.
Likely done deliberately, the Master from the first Fallout game crashes right into the Valley.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Fallout 3 both fall into this trap, as Bethesda's attempts at creating realism and a more immersive world end up having exactly the opposite effect, to the point where a game with chocolate-stained 2002 graphics and text boxes for dialogue (The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind) actually manages to be more immersive despite the latter two games' more technically advanced graphics. Or where the Khajiit and Argonians don't fall into the valley.
This can extend to the NPC behaviour as well, resulting in Artificial Atmospheric Actions. For example, Oblivion has many NPCs that have schedules that tell them where to be and when, but the pool of possible actions is so small that they repeat the same thing over and over again. This leads to the feeling that the entire population is made up of automations whose only purpose is to mindlessly chatter about the same nonsense all day. It becomes even more jarring with characters that need to be found in a specific location such as shopkeepers, whose job involves standing behind the counter staring unblinkingly at the door all day.
Of course, the PC versions have mods that can somewhat fix these problems.
A deliberate example of Uncanny Valley in the Fallout: New Vegas DLC, Lonesome Road, is Ulysses. He wears a mask over the bottom half of his face and he never, ever blinks. He was also more detailed than the regular character model, so the effect looks quite eerie overall.
That's not to say Morrowind didn't have it. Argonians and Khajiit walk like they broke their ankles. And everyone else looks like they have broken knees. And their jaws sometimes make a weird flapping when they talk. Or the game freezes to display text with their mouth open in a weird way...
Of course, the Argonians and Khajiit walking like that was perfectly deliberate — Argonians and Khajiit used digitigrade motion to make them less human and more like dinosaurs/cats. This was dropped for the later games, mainly because it made people think they walked like they broke their ankles rather than like a cat.
This is the main reason that Argonians and Khajiit are the some of the more popular races for players. Because they aren't trying to mimic humans, they look a lot less creepy.
Pokémon: Jynx looks too much like a human-Pokémon hybrid to not be Nightmare Fuel.
Many players have the same opinion of Mr. Mime.
Several of the Pokémon categorized as "humanshape" can fall into the Uncanny Valley. Several of the Fighting-Types are particularly creepy due to their strange proportions.
Many of the Nancy Drew games have been this. The more recent ones have been better about this, but some of the early ones (past Secrets can Kill, which averted this trope by having little 2D animations act as the characters) but some early ones like Stay Tuned for Danger tend to fall a bit into the valley with the rather stiff and oddly shiny characters that seem to never move when they're not talking. (...granted it would be a bit creepier if they did stuff like breathed) Some of the stuff in Stay Tuned for Danger are possibly the worst, since they take pictures of real-life people and photoshop characters' faces on them, making it look QUITE unnatural. Why is that? It looks like they're wearing masks! Her Interactive has also never done this since - for obvious reasons.
Somewhat averted with Secret of the Old Clock though. Despite that they put in old photos from the 30s, they actually don't animate the scenes that take place in these so it does look out of place, but thankfully not uncanny. Some also argued it added a nice effect, since the game actually is set in the 1930s and having real-life photographs of the buildings at the time only added to it.
The recent games have been avoiding this - the CG-I, while still obviously CG-I going for a more realistic style looks far more comfortable. The characters actually move way more and don't come off as looking like living dolls.
Gameboy Camera, a game marketed towards kids, has some Easter Eggs that occasionally pop up while playing Like◊ these◊, both of which have become memes.
In Guitar Hero III, the graphics are notably improved from previous installments. Not all of the characters look different from previous versions, but the male singer in particular stands out. While he now mouths the words more realistically, his jaw is enormous. He nearly looks muppetesque, or what the Mouth of Sauron from the extended edition of Return of the King might look like during a period of youthful rebellion against the Dark Lord, man, and his cramping the Mouth's style. Especially strange given that he looks perfectly normal in the animated cinematics. Let's not forget the drummer, who acts like he's part of the animatronic band at a Chuck E. Cheese style restaurant.
Characters in the Wii and PS2 versions of World Tour an Smash Hits are prone to having dead-looking facial expressions. This was fixed in Warriors of Rock, where the characters are often too stylized to be mistaken for a real person or show enough emotion that it's not creepy.
Rock Band 3 has this problem more than the first two games. Some characters have it worse than others. The Beatles game before it had shades of it too, particularly around the eyes.
It doesn't help that the face models in that game can't really contort themselves to resemble singing, so it looks as if she's just holding her mouth open whilst breathy opera music plays in the background.
Forget the singing. What's WAY more in the Uncanny Valley are some of the combinations you can make for your character's face. But that's optional. One that is unavoidable (And definitely not intentional) for mages is what happens when an Arcane Warrior Mage uses Combat Magic with Fade Shroud. Because of the way models are rendered in the game, the mouth and eyes are modeled separately...unfortunately, the entire body appears transparent and ghostly with Fade Shroud on...and then this causes the eyes and mouth to appear to be floating, and it's even visible from BEHIND. Unavoidable for an arcane warrior, but given the fact that the Arcane Warrior is arguably one of the best classes in the game thanks to the amount of possible Game Breaker combinations with it....yeeeeaaaaahhhh....There any mods that cancel that effect out, Modders?
Not only the singing, even laughing seems to be beyond their facial muscles' ability. Which makes it creepy every time someone does laugh in a dialogue. (Flemeth does this a lot)
The redesigned elves for Dragon Age II were given a number of small but subtle changes to distinguish them from humans. For example, they have thin nose bridges that extend out from their faces (most clearly visible in profile) and unusually-large irises in their eyes. the effect is simultaneously attractive yet eerie, and does a good job making it clear that as humanlike as elves are, they are distinctly not human.
They also gave all the dwarves (with the exception of party member Varric) glassy, opaque eyes that look like something you'd see on a porcelain doll or an animal that's recently been stuffed. It's especially creepy with Bodahn and his son Sandal, since you're used to seeing them in their more normal-looking Origins incarnations.
In Awakening, Justice falls right into the Uncanny Valley...however, this differs because it's actually invoked - he's an animated corpse possessed by a spirit from the Fade. Of course he'll look like a corpse!
The Architect is much more human-looking then other darkspawn, which just makes it creepier when you notice that his Nice Hat is actually part of his head, and that when he takes his mask off you can see that his eyes are misaligned. Also clearly intentional.
Mass Effect largely avoids this, in-game — the facial models are of excellent quality and generally look very real. However, the facial customization section during character creation can be disturbing — the facial image is animated, moving and breathing naturally even as you alter it, and the sight of it mutating as you alter the parameters is somewhat disturbing. It's also possible to end up with rather odd-looking results if you set multiple features to the extremes of the available scales.
All the attention to detail however can be ruined during some of the conversations where a character's head will stop too suddenly during a head turn. The living breathing character suddenly becomes an animatronic robot. Occurs most often with Garrus but happens to most characters at least once when they are in the scene but aren't the ones speaking.
The facial animation system would also invoke this a fair bit. As detailed as the faces are, their actual ability to emote can feel extremely limited, like their faces are made of tough rubber. This got a bit better in the sequels, but their expressions would still often be only vaguely like what was intended, and more often than not a rather blank expression would be used. If you were playing using a custom face you actually hoped this would be the case because it was plainly obvious that the facial rig was built for the default Male Shepard's face. Any attempt at smiling would just cause the custom face's mouth corners to move, with the rest staying perfectly in place.
Mass Effect 2 hits the valley hard in its character narration trailers, most notably those for Miranda and Subject Zero. In-game, however, the majority of faces are even better than in the first game.
While the close-up shots aren't so bad in the cutscenes, the way the body movements and gestures are animated in the long-shots make the characters look like string-puppets or zombies.
Miranda does still have this problem in-game from time to time, just the way she looks at you, or the way her face is set at certain points. Word of God puts this down to glitching in the game's rendering system that causes her features to be very frozen and unmoving.
An odd glitch of the graphics engine can cause faces to be lit very starkly from below, emulating that flashlight-face look. It can be jarring.
There also appears to be a problem with the default Male!Shepard facial animation, in that he cannot smile properly. This picture◊ is fanmade, but demonstrates nicely why this is a problem.
One of the trailers for Mass Effect 3 features a small girl you're supposed to be feeling sorry for. Unfortunately, her horrific appearance prevents any empathy from arising in the viewer.
Almost every time someone turns their neck. Uncanny valley applies to krogans, too.
The synthesis ending evoked this for some players due to the eerie green glowing of some characters.
You can also get an Off Model glitch due to a bug in the code for the Recon Hood that makes Shepard's eyelids transparent during "helmets off" cutscenes. The resultant uncannily large eyes make the whole thing more than a little unnerving.
The Death Jr. Series naturally has more to cause fear than this, but its offering toward the Uncanny Valley is Pandora Boxley. A sweet and well-meaning goth girl (which, in the grander scheme of the game's cast, makes her relatively normal), she is very cute despite having empty eye-sockets — IN THE OFFICIAL ART! The version of her in the in-game graphics resembles a chillingly soulless zombie far more frightening in appearance than the title hero — and he's a skeleton!
Western-made "adult" PC games (read: porn) tend to not sell very well, even on the direct download market. Publishers are baffled by this. They would do well to look at their misguided attempts at "realism" and the intensely creepy female... things, that result. A particular example is Active Dolls (NSFW), where the mannequin-like Creepazons are designed to lock their eyes onto the camera at all times and angles when not engaged in... other activities. Given the "models'" unchanging expressions and dead eyes, one wonders how the programmers considered this anything other than the wrong end of Uncanny Valley?
Japanese-made porn games usually manage to avoid the Valley by giving the girls anime eyes and faces and making the male character faces (if not his whole body) invisible or impossible to see directly. 3D 'love simulator' maker Illusion has gained large notoriety and a wide fanbase for their Biko, Sexy Beach and Artificial Girl series.
School Mate goes a step further with real-time cel-shading and thick figure outlines that resemble hand-inked illustration. Many fans deride other Illusion games for looking 'unrealistic', but never have this complaint about their cherished Schoolmate.
However, Real Kanojo 3D went for a more realistic look and fell into this trap, particularly on the parts when the girl is speaking and you use your hands to interact with her face.
And then, if your configuration isn't up to snuff, you end up with stuff like THIS.
The PC port of Final Fantasy VII gave smoother models for characters on the map field, but for some reason, the developers decided to give every character that didn't have a mouth drawn in the Playstation version a round black circle for a mouth. This gives the characters a very bizarre look, including Sephiroth. The mouthless versions makes the character models look far less creepy.
Final Fantasy X dips in and out of this trope, particularly with the character Tidus. Depending on the angle and lighting, he can either be real-looking enough to, well, look real, or look like his face is a mask. Partially due to the fact that the animators used the default in-game model, present in gameplay, in most scenes, but used a much higher quality version with a fully expressive face whenever a character was the centerpiece of a cutscene. Sounds great in practice, but their habits of forgetting to use the high-quality model, or even worse have a HQ-model and a gameplay model in the same cutscene at the same time made this quite jarring and unimmersive. There is a particularly jarring scene in Final Fantasy X-2 where Yuna and Rikku are trying to puzzle something out ("Key-Mon?" "Monkey!"), and there's a close up shot of Rikku's low-quality face as she says something. It is, by far, the most disturbing thing: passionate speech, dead face. Then, of course, there's the infamous laughing cutscene.
Sazh's son Dajh from Final Fantasy XIII is adorable... or would be, if he didn't look like a living plastic doll. Even Sazh himself sometimes looks weird.
Chocolina's poker face. No, seriously, no matter how EXCITED her voice makes it seem, she just has that blank expression... As if she has no soul!
Dissidia: Final Fantasy is typically very good about avoiding this, but in the prequel, there's just something about Vaan's face reminiscent of fish.
The infamous "Pixel Mouth" in both Kingdom Hearts game falls into the same category. It's particularly noticeable in one of KH 1's crowning moments, where Riku takes the keyblade from Sora and later Sora takes it back. Some of the best lines in the game can be found here, but the because the characters are using in-game models, their mouths shift only from open to closed and back (as opposed to the cutscene models, which are properly lip-synched).
This trope is probably why the Pirates of the Caribbean level looks so out of place in Kingdom Hearts II. Sora is rendered in his normal anime style, with slightly exaggerated features, while the Pirates characters are more realistically detailed and proportioned.
Organization XIII's members are supposed to be deliberately made examples of this trope. The fanfic writers don't seem to mind.
Particularly Xion, whose creepiness has sometimes been mistaken for outright technical glitches. As the game goes on, though, it becomes very clear that despite the cute face, the little things that aren't quite right were very intentional. And when they all come together, we find an alcove in the Valley home to both terror and Fetish Fuel.
Larxene'svoice, at least, succeeds - if only because of the perky, cheerful tone she manages to hold even when she isn't pretending that her personality matches it, though this may only hold true in the dub for Re: Chain of Memories. It doesn't really help that she comes the closest to showing real emotion (or shows the most, depending on one's interpretation) out of all the Nobodies - disregarding Roxas who's implied to be special in that regard in any case.
The Nobodies did succeed at this at one point... but not where it was intended; in the opening of Kingdom Hearts II. Look at Namine at 2:43 and 3:37 It's tricky to explain, but something about her face just looks off. Her brief appearance in the high-quality CGI at the end of the game was better, though.
There's also where Xion takes her hood off and reveals herself to have Sora's face, yet is speaking with Xion's voice. Not to mention, Vanitas when he takes his mask off. Nothing wrong with proportions...but to people familiar with those characters? It feels unnerving.
Shiki's a case of Fridge Brilliance: those who have played TWEWY would know that's not what Shiki looks like at all, but a copy of her best friend Eri's appearance. She looked unnaturally rail-thin since that's how she perceives Eri.
And somebody on deviantART even did something funny...because the avatar for "Bawplz" is a shot from that very scene. There's also wabplz, which is merely the "sad mouth" flipped upside down, making it actually look either disturbing with how wide his cheeks are, or funny with how friggin' ridiculous his mouth looks.
Speaking of which, in World of Warcraft, there also are the high/blood elf placeholder models from before the Burning Crusade expansion pack of, a gallery of which can be seen here. They were modified night elf models, which meant that the male one had this creepy emotionless face, and the female ones had their eyes slanted at an almost disturbing angle. Combined with a blocky, ungainly appearance, both gender models kind of gave the impression their faces were too narrow.
Fandom is divided on the Forsaken. some consider the female Forsaken to be Cute Monster Girls, other consider both sexes to reside deep in the Uncanny Valley. Both sides are right, to at least some degree, owing to variations in personal tastes and the range of appearance options for Forsaken faces, from "cute green skinned girl" to "where's your jaw, and who stitched the leather X over your eyes?" Then again, they are zombies (i.e. the lowest point on the graph), just in varying states of decay.
The human children's faces are all unbelievably creepy. Something about their eyes...
Anduin Wrynn's new model from Cataclysm may be even further into this. He looks almost like an unusually tall 10-year-old with his father's Lantern Jaw of Justice.
The Taunka are arguably the worst offenders. Due to sloppy modeling, their faces are too flat and unanimated, making them look as if they are wearing cardboard masks with soulless, frozen eyes.
Hilde on the Xbox 360 boxart of Soulcalibur IV. It's her eyes... her soulless eyes.
Ashlotte in the game itself. A CGI animated model of a realistic human-like clockwork robot is just overkill. Thankfully, her movement and voice are very human, with nothing "off" or "mechanical" about them.
Interestingly, her personality and the non-CGI artwork of her can have her loop around from vaguely unsettling (as a clockwork doll with a halberd should be in the 1500s or today) to, well, cute.
On the other hand, some human characters suffer from these problems. Like in Tira's story mode, when she says "Can I use him? Naw, he's useless!" in that exaggerated, strained voice of hers, combined with her face locked in an unnatural smile with equally unnatural Mouth Flaps...
Princess Elise from Sonic the Hedgehog (2006): Princess of Uncanny Valley. Being alongside characters that are modeled after Felix the Cat punctuated it even further. The other humans in the game don't help it, with their random arm flailings in grotesque parody of actual body language. Sonic Team seems to have understood this, and made the humans in Sonic Unleashed look like they came straight out of Ratatouille.
Also, realistic Eggman◊ from the same game, where we even get some shots of his eyes. Do not want!
The Mobians in the game look off, due to the realism of everyone else and due to the less-cartoony look with them. It really makes it apparent that they're giant, multicolored, sapient animals.
The way they move is disturbing. Sega put highly detailed human expressions and motions onto cartoon animals.
The animations for everyone basically falls flat. None of the Sonic characters ever show any facial expressions other than the occasional blinking and their movements look either extremely odd or very stiff. Sonic in particular is stuck with a near-constant deadpan stare, and he almost never makes eye contact with his conversation partners.
The one character this may work for is Mephiles, who would already be pretty far removed from regular Mobians if he hadn't borrowed Shadow's form.
The animations in Sonic Adventure make the Sonic characters look like they have trouble grasping how to move their mouths when speaking. Sonic and Knuckles have the worst of it due to how their eyes just bulge and twitch the moment they even talk.
Sonic Adventure 2 improves the animations in the Sonic characters but somehow managed to mess up on the human characters. One jarring moment is a little girl starring into a screen and you can see how her eyes look completely dead and devoid of any emotion.
Deliberately invoked in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, where a not-quite-human all-female unit was modeled by scanning in the physiques and faces of four real-life actresses, whose slightly too detailed faces jarred horribly against the more stylized look of the entirely digitally made 'human' characters. Even more deliberate when you consider that, according to their back-stories, those girls have all suffered from really heavy Mind Rape and only got worse from there. Thus the impression that they're dead on the inside.
MGS2'sColonel AI once he starts glitching out, anyone?
Unfortunately in Peace Walker, Big Boss suffers from this in cutscenes featuring in-game graphics. He's got a stern face and no other emotions. His remaining eye never blinks and is always intently, uneasily focused on something. The relative lack of his trademark grunt reaction noises doesn't help. The rest of the playable soldiers don't have this problem because they're always clad in a balaclava.
The first game seems to make intentional use of this phenomenon - the grotesque, ex-human Splicers are even more unnerving for how human they still look. The first ghost you encounter subtly lampshades this: "I'm too spliced up! I'm too spliced up! Now nobody's gonna want me...."
The Little Sisters are also examples of the trope.
BioShock 2 has redesigned the Little Sisters to make them cuter and more cartoony because the player character's viewpoint is a Big Daddy, who cares for them more than anything else; he doesn't find them creepy, neither should the player. Splicers, on the other hand, are still in the valley, because the PC sees them as threats to his Little Sisters.
BioShock 2 brings up the valley when a journal of Andrew Ryan describes an animatronic replica of him built for a theme park as a "lurching, waxen nightmare" and wonders how children are supposed to respond to that. Indeed, the first time one of the animatronics is encountered can be startling because it appears to be a slightly less than normal human sitting completely still. Then you attack it and it breaks apart completely.
It's brought up again in BioShock Infinite as intentional on the developers' part for the Motorized Patriot who was in fact based on a nightmare of Ken Levine's when he was a child of the porcelain dolls his grandparents had.
Samus in the Metroid Prime series bordered the line, went past it, and then went up from there. Metroid Prime had Samus' face designed to look realistic according to how she looked in Super Metroid. It wasn't quite right (mostly because her subdued skin and hair clashed with her bright-colored suit), but it still looked decent. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes shifted away from this style in favor of an anime look based on Metroid: Zero Mission, but the 3D representation of it made Samus look like a living Barbie doll with puffy lips and eyes that look fake. Metroid Prime: Hunters attempted to mix the realistic and anime styles together with some success while Metroid Prime 3: Corruption has Samus retain the anime style, but with a much bigger improvement in facial details. Compare the faces here.◊
Largely averted in Half-Life 2, with realistic lip-synching and largely realistic character movements based on character actors, but deliberately invoked in the G-Man, who is implied to be not entirely human. His speech is littered with awkward pauses and emphases, his way of standing and walking are oddly rigid, and his "humanizing" gestures — like brushing dust from his suit or straightening his tie — are unconvincingly stiff. He behaves as though he's had to learn 'human' behavior out of books and films. The effect is further compounded by his facial features, which are not only misaligned but also seem to lack any kind of expression at all.
G-Man's mannerisms begin to look realistic only in the Episodes — the point at which he's caught off-guard for the first time in the series. His sole scene in Episode One has him look genuinely confused, then genuinely angry. When he appears again in Episode Two, a touch of actual nervousness and urgency seems to be creeping into his formerly effectless voice.
His movements also become a lot more realistic in Episode Two.
Sony's first-party PS3 sports games (MLB the Show and NBA 0x) have technically excellent 1080p graphics. Except every arena looks to be made entirely of plastic, and every player looks like a wax doll.
Avoided in Heavenly Sword where the game designers had real-life actors give real performances with motion capture sensors in order to have their real facial expressions tell the animated characters how to look. The result was lively animation that dodged the valley entirely and was praised for its stunning cutscenes.
Also invoked when you consider that the game actually does show corpses.
"Adult" video game Strip Fighter 2 almost averted this by making all the detailed pictures of women be scans of actual pictures of women. Then someone got the bright idea to make the pictures wink. Without moving any other part of the face.
Speaking of Silent Hill, in Silent Hill 2 there was a scene in which James encounters Maria in a jail cell. After almost a minute of in-game graphics there is a sudden Animation Bump, combined with the shading, makes Maria look disturbingly realistic.
Actually, most of the characters in Silent Hill 2 fall into this at times, and it's probably intentional, given the atmosphere of the game—as Angela puts it, there's "something...wrong" about the town and the people in it.
At the end of the intro for Silent Hill 4, there is a closeup with Big Bad Walter's face, where you can see him blinking, and, similar to the Strip Fighter 2 example, there's an overall lack of movement in the rest of his face that makes it look just wrong. Probably intentional on the developers' part. This wrongness leads you to ask the disturbing question, "Do video game characters have eyelids?''
(Creepy, distorted laughter)"Good news: I figured out what that thing you just incinerated did. It was the morality core they installed after I flooded the enrichment center with a deadly neurotoxin, to make me stop flooding the enrichment center with a deadly neurotoxin."
Chell may also count, though she's rarely seen in-game. Just... Those EYES.◊
If you fail at the Boss Rush in Sexy Parodius, you're treated to a rather frightening image of the final boss laughing at your misfortune.
Roughly half the cast (the energetic ones) of the Dynasty Warriors series avoid this trope (they instead sometimes border on being too cartoony, especially really big guffawing guys like Meng Huo), but the 'serene' or 'contemplative' characters like Da Qiao, Zhuge Liang, Xu Huang, and Yue Ying more than make up for them. Yue herself is a bit of a shift as the emotion in her lines show she was meant to have Action Girl expressions. She just comes off as very very strange when speaking, almost like a period automaton from an old German sci-fi movie. Compare with the Rikku example up above. Strangely, Lu Bu also falls into the second catagory depending on the game involved, as sometimes his voice is bizarrely low-pitched in comparison with his roaring angryface. Koei might have had different modelers working on different sets of people which resulted in the discrepancies between believable and non. Does not seem to happen as often in the Samurai Warriors universe.
In case 3 of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, there's a cutscene involving a concert performance. While the entire game series is in 2-D point-and-click, the concert is in moving 3-D and not that well detailed. It's very unnerving.
Perceive segments are meant to be trippy, but focusing that close onto someone's face can feel uncomfortable (especially as you watch their mouth or throat move, made even weirder by the fact you don't hear voices, just very slowed down "blips" representing speech).
Calisto Yew from Ace Attorney Investigations falls into the trope because of how she behaves in the courtroom. Edgeworth himself finds her to be creepy.
If just voices can qualify for Uncanny Valley, then Manfred, Quercus Alba, and the aforementioned Calisto Yew's voices definitely do (though Yew's is slightly less bad than the other two). Manfred and Alba's voice clips sound horribly low and drawn out, like they're not even real voices.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies greatly improves the character details and animations after series took a leap into complete 3D. Every character has smooth animations and expressions that go well with the anime style. Of course, it also has the chance to play this intentionally. Two examples come to mind: Aristotle Means and that goddamn smile, and the Phantom and his loose mask.
Much like the Basement Jaxx example, Halo 3 has an easter egg of a family of either monkeys or cavemen with human looking faces.
Early 3D games like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Mega Man Legends tend to suffer from this trope. The player character and the most important NPCs usually look great — but the other NPCs are often horrific. The worst are like dolls made by someone who's only seen actual humans through a kaleidoscope.
The carpenters were more due to the weird way they moved. They'd move faster than their legs moved, hammer stuff weirdly and generally freak you out.
The Happy Mask Salesman is a deliberate version of this, the main reason being that instead of moving normally, he instead violently jerks from one position/animation to another with no transition animation whatsoever.
Wario Land games are usually too cartoony in art style to fit this usually, but some of the clown-based bosses would probably head far enough into the valley to give Coulrophobics nightmares. There's Clown-a-Round in Wario World, which looks just human and somewhat CGI-like to creep someone out before they even realize it has multiple detachments heads and his real one is on his stomach: picture for reference and possibly Chortlebot from Shake It, which is at least somewhat disturbing in the least (it freaking laughs when using a flamethrower type attack for goodness sake, and the music getting faster and faster can't help much).
While we're on the topic of Wario World, there's Mean Emcee, who has an incredibly garbled voice, jerky movements, and just barely human features, falls squarely into this trope.
The Brawl Doll. Yes, it's a giant, almost sickening looking cupid type plush toy you fight as a boss. One look at those eyes will freak you out something weird, and it apparently fires laser beams.
Then there's the Winter Windster, the boss of Shivering Mountains. It's almost frostbitten flesh-colored, small, stubby limbs, and... the face. Honestly, the picture on that link actually makes it seem worse than its actual in-game appearance... which is really an in-game picture.
This trope is among one of the many many problems with Limbo of the Lost. The normal people end up looking far scarier than the ghoulish ones due to creepy Poser models and jerky animation.
Whoever designed Doc Louis' eyes in the Nintendo Wii version of Punch-Out!!! needs to honestly be charged with something. The game itself is silly enough and cartoony, but whenever a round ends and it shows Little Mac in his corner with Doc, his eyes are always disturbingly fixed upon you... not your in-game character, but staring at the screen at YOU, and the eyes appear to follow you.
Speaking of Punch-Out, there's also the Super Punch-Out protagonist's appearance in Fight Night Round 2. I shudder thinking of it.◊.
There's something creepily wrong with that protagonist period, even in 2D. His prototypical version lacked said Uncanny Valley.
The crowds in pretty much any 7th-gen sports title. In the past, crowds were nothing more than a flat, multi-coloured blur, maybe with a couple of frames of 'animation' and no-one ever questioned it. Now individual crowd members can be picked out, with their own animations and perhaps rendered in 3D. Sounds great, except that wide-shots show the same 50 or so crowd members copy-pasted to fill a 60,000-seater stadium, and it just looks weird.
Mario's floating head in Mario Teaches Typing 2. Everything, from the movement of the mouth to the shape of the eyes, is slightly off, resulting in Mario looking downright creepy. It doesn't help that Mario's missing his body and he seems aware of this.
Not sure about the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, but the Wii, PSP and PS2 versions of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed have some really awkward human models. As a reviewer put it, they have pretty much a single expression and don't show any emotion, which becomes very uncomfortable in some parts of the game with high emphasis on character development.
The PS360 version is better with expression and emotion, but the skin textures still look wrong. There are also other issues, particularly with Juno Eclipse's mouth: sometimes, when speaking, it's like her upper lip gets caught on the top of her teeth and just stays there. That description probably makes no sense because the image makes no sense. In fact, everyone in that game seems to have a mouth that's too large for their face, which really only becomes apparent when they're speaking.
NED, the main antagonist of Albion, is a highly developed supercomputer, that communicates with the ship's crew through an android body, that pretty much falls into this. His permanent facial expression is a blank stare. Not to mention the one occasion where it malfunctions and starts walking around aimlessly. And near the end of the game, there's an entire army of these things. Pretty creepy.
Starting around Shin Megami Tensei II, Kazuma Kaneko's human artwork for Shin Megami Tensei took a turn for the eerie. Most of the character's skins are frighteningly pale white and many have dark eyes, or dark rings around their eyes.
Given that the series is known for being Darker and Edgier than other RPGs, and tends to play with some very creepy subject matter, this may be intentional.
Good thing Jokers aren't rendered realistically...imagine what they would look like if they were...no eyes or other facial features, just an evil grin...* shudder*
This quality is given to Mitsuo Kubo of Persona 4, whose natural Black Eyes of Evil are portrayed as rather dead, which is shown to be fitting as his shadow portrays that he's practically dead inside as well as making him look like creepily Gonkish.
The Characters in Brave Story New Traveller look like love dolls. It's disconcerting, to say the least. In fact, everything about this children's RPG is frightening.
Garry's Mod tends to inadvertantly invoke this trope as you manipulate and pose your favorite Half-Life 2 characters...as flopping, corpselike ragdolls. Bonus squick is easily achieved if you import the Left 4 Dead models.
On the other hand, the things that you can do with the ragdolls that should be creepy thanks to this trope become downrighthilarious.
Speaking of Garry's Mod: The fan made 3D models of the main characters from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic that seem to popular amongst Gmodders and Bronies alike. The characters did not transition from 2D to 3D animation well, looking incredibly creepy; especially the almost human-like faces.
Some custom ragdolls can invoke this problem even more due to added flexibility. While the default ragdolls are rigged semi-realistically, many custom ones are rigged in a way that makes them more flexible and more useful for posing. Thing is, said flexibility causes things like necks that don't support the head and thus look broken, limbs that can rotate and bend in unnatural ways, and in extreme cases the entire body moves as if it were just a bunch of individual parts loosely tied together. To say it's unsettling is putting it mildly.
Ys VI uses CGI in its opening movie that's much more realistic than the rest of the game's art design. This isn't a problem with the human characters, because they're careful to keep them on the better side of it. But then we meet Olha and Isha. They're Rehda, Petting Zoo People with fox tails and (the important part) elongated ears. In the CGI, they look extremely disturbing thanks to those ears - the ears help that sense of "SOMETHING VERY WRONG" so important to the Uncanny Valley effect. Thankfully, the game's use of CGI is minimal after that point.
The Nobleman from Brotherhood is made of this. His face is artificial enough to avoid it, but the rest of him, with the hunched back and the too-small limbs - it doesn't help that one is artificial and ends in a claw - makes him decidedly wrong-looking.
Although opinion varies as to how successful the game animation was, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, a series of cast interviews reveal that at the very least the cast thought this was true of their face scanned models.
Canister users in Geneforge are described like this in-game. It's particularly prominent at the higher levels of power when they start to glow and get a near-constant Psychotic Smirk, and particularly particularly prominent when they take a bad canister and their skin starts flaking off.
The horse-like enemies in Parasite Eve. With human faces. Granted, the enemies were suposed to scare you and intentionally fall into this trope to an extent, but those things really drove it home.
Parasite Eve has fixed camera angles and 'Chasers' just love to stick their faces into the camera. This means you'll regularly see that horrifying face with red eyes all up in your grill, blocking your view of anything else.
THIS trailer for the (second?) Bakugan Battle Brawlers video game falls squarely into this catagory. Whilst Dragonoid and Hydranoid might look brilliantly rendered, they went just a tad too far with Dan... Thankfully Masqeruade has his headgear on, so we are saved from how he could have looked.
All the people in the Myst series tend towards this, especially in the earlier games (the fact that encountering them is so rare doesn't help). But by far the scariest is that little girl in Riven. She appears out of nowhere on the path and looks more like a creepy little ghost than anything else... * shudders*
It probably helps that the original Myst was known for taking place entirely in uninhabited areas; you don't meet your first character in person until the end of the game. So suddenly finding out that people actually live in Riven is a surprise.
The original Siren. Characters had animated images of actors as their face textures, with their expressions made through frames instead of actual polygon animation. It made it all seem slightly real, but also unnatural, and added to the dreamy feeling the game had.
Heavy Rain has characters who look fine in stills, and others who crash into the valley so hard you may forget the normal-looking ones. Any close-ups of character faces in motion (like on the loading screens) are consistently creepy. Gamers are polarized enough over the gameplay to give this issue little thought, and many in the "like it" camp won't even deny it anyway.
This is also actually a problem with characters using/abusing normal maps that make them look very shiny to the point of making them appear as if made of plastic or rubber especially when on the skin.
Spore can really run into this if a person doesn't know how to work with the creature creator (or just any other creator) very well. An even more special mention can go to people who've actually tried to make humans with the game's tools, which is not only downright creepy, but also very, very hideous.
As are most attempts at re-creating pre-existing characters from cartoons, video games, etc.
When looked closely, the bystanders of Street Fighter IV fall into this, since they clearly used motion capture for animating them and they have the detail of plain mannequins, its jarring to see them performing the same movements over and over again.
Initial D 4 had a major change to its presentation; for the first time ever, Legend of the Streets would not only have voicework, but the characters in the pre- and post-race scenes would be animated. Since the franchise belongs to Sega...y'know, the company that pioneered 3D graphics in arcade games, and has refined the process over many years to create amazingly smooth, lifelike human characters...you'd think that they'd make the characters in 3D, right? Even more so for the opportunity to make original clothing, poses, gestures, etc. instead of having to rehash the same manga rips endlessly. Unfortunately what we got instead was the same manga rips, but very crudely animated; basically the same technique used for those Get Your War On videos. They look like garishly colored animatronic puppets. (Initial D 5 was an improvement, however...now they look like skillfully colored animatronic puppets.)
The characters in Starcraft cinematics had that weird Claymation vibe about them, that made them look rather creepy. Starcraft II fixed that, and brought us this ...THING to compensate.
Most of the portraits are smaller than in the video, focusing on the heads. Which is good, since when zoomed out you realize most of the units lack arms. Or, in the Hellion and Goliath's case, have absurdly skinny arms.
Some cinematics are marred by the portraits going back to whatever emotion they were expressing to neutral for less than a second, just enough to be jarring.
In widget gameHelp Wanted, a minigame game where you have to work to buy stuff from the Home Shopping Network to save the Earth, you have a place called Memorial Hall to keep all your memorials for jobs, and there are visitors. One visitor, Mike the security guard, looks so realistic, but incredibly creepy. Especially when he's mad...
Star Control 3 replaced Star Control 2's 2D animation with filmed claymation models. The humans and humanlike aliens look creepiest of all, much more so than the non-human aliens. The likely worst case is the formerly sexy Syreen.
Star Ocean: The Last Hope has very pretty graphics, but this only makes the character models more horrifying. Everyone looks like mannequins or porcelain dolls with anime eyes, Lymle is especially terrifying.
City of Heroes:Invoked in game. Nemesis' Automatons look almost exactly like real humans, "until you get close." It's also kinda creepy when the innocent-looking office workers pull gigantic guns from Hammerspace and blast you, all the while engaging in water-cooler conversation.
There's a mission in City of Villains where Automatons are posing as Arachnos agents. When they start spouting lines straight out of Stupid Evil, you know something's up. But once you get over the fact that they're robots, it just gets funny.
Captain Novolin has two realistically-sprited doctors in the game... and their stares and smiles are rather unsettling to some people. Sadly, you'll be seeing at least one of them after beating every level.
Subverted to great effect in System Shock 2, in which the enemies no longer look human, but some still have just enough humanity left to apologize while attacking you. And then there are the cyborg midwives. In some cases, you know that the cyborg midwife you're fighting was once a crew member who you've gotten to know through the audio logs they've left behind.
In the first game SHODAN's design and speech patterns are quite...disconcerting. Perhaps intentially so - intentionally, that is, on her part.
It happens to characters in Deadly Premonition due to imperfect animation, especially when said characters smile.
XenoSaga Episode I used very stylized, anime-esque graphics that fell clearly to the left of the valley. However, Episode II used a slightly more... realistic... style, which ranged from mildly creepy to downright disturbing. See here. While it makes total sense for non-human characters to fall into the valley, it doesn't for the rest of the cast. They switched back to stylized graphics for Episode III.
Used in X-Wing on the face of the medical droid, during the medical-treatment scene, viewable here.◊
For another kind of Uncanny Valley, look at the man in the tank. Human necks don't actually bend like that.
With their pasty skin and their inanimate, mannequin-like faces, the trainers in Wii Fit can be... unnerving to say the least.
The Nintendo DS game Brain Age has the floating head of Ryuta Kawashima. Here's the image◊
The Ghasts in Minecraft make a sound that sounds ALMOST like babies. That "almost" aspect however makes them horrifying, especially when there are several all making that same sound. Thus if there is a "sound" version to Uncanny Valley, these creatures sure make it.
The sounds recorded for Ghasts came from the sound developer's cat after distorting the sounds. Doesn't make it any less creepy.
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle has Charlie Mcdonald's cheerleaders. They all look alike. All 25 of them. Also, on a side note, there's a store in Pizza Batt tower that's actually called "Uncanny Valley".
In the .hack//Games, Aura's◊ artwork◊ ended up looking creepy. Maybe it's her striking eyes or her apparent lack of a body.
She's been described as looking far more human but far less alive than chunky yellow robot Blitzcrank. Who largely manages to avoid the valley, admittedly by standing on the other side to most of the human champions and waving.
Miku Hatsune looks just fine and dandy in the PSP version of Project DIVA, but when you pop in the high-definition PS3 version, all of a sudden the advanced shaders and more detailed character model turn her into something that looks like a gangly woman with stiff, impossible joints and very bizarre facial proportions, as if she were wearing a animegao mask.
Guillo from Baten Kaitos Origins seems to deliberately invoke this trope. Its movements are humanlike, but just a little off. Watch it when you fight it and you'll see; it's downright frightening.
In other Baten Kaitos weirdness, check out the character models from the first game. They look alright when they stand still, but as soon as they start moving or the camera zooms in, they look like marionettes with invisible strings. The sequel mostly avoided this.
Runescape uses a cartoony, yet somewhat realistic art style and stays well away from the uncanny valley. The sole exception being human children models. There's no better way to describe it then to just show you a picture of a Runescape child staring into your soul◊.
Earnest Evans constructed the title character out of many sprites moving together, in an attempt to create a Platform Game hero who would move more realistically than any before. The result looks nowhere near natural.
Most recent Touhou games have portrayed Reimu with a paler skin tone and stiffer poses (fighting game spin-offs notwithstanding), making her gradually look more off, like if she was a corpse. Miyako Yoshika, the resident zombie character, actually looks more alive, though your mileage may vary on that one. Fanon caught on with the Zombie Reimu meme.
Most characters in Binary Domain look like average humans and not unsettling at all, except for Dan, the player character. His facial features look less human and more akin to what you would expect a Final Fantasy character to look like.
Tomb Raider fell into the valley and stayed there for a while. The first three games had characters within in-game cut scenes just bob their heads up and down as they spoke, which made them appear quite off and especially when a character had a strong emotion but their faces are frozen. Lara in the FMV scenes had her with a more broad range of expressions, but she seems to try too hard to express them as her grins or angry face look too extreme. The fourth and fifth games got rid of the head bobbing for in-game scenes and had characters actually move their mouths, but the mouth only opened and closed with just two frames of animation and the characters themselves moved very stiffly.
When Crystal Dynamics did the reboots, Lara's appearance and facial expressions vastly improved, which pulled Lara out of the valley. Lara's facial expressions is now much more broad and are more finely detailed.
Invoked in the Team Fortress 2 video "Meet The Pyro". The scene alternates between footage of the burning carnage of the outside world and the Sugar Bowl within the Pyro's mind. Not only are the images of various character's faces pasted onto tiny egg-shaped cherubs unsettling enough as it is, the juxtaposition between the two realities makes the normally comic violence within the game seem much less comical when the outside world footage is shown. But even though this short was meant to be terrifying, several people ended up finding it hilarious in a Black Comedy kind of way.
The trailer for Darksiders II features a girl so deep in the uncanny valley that one can be forgiven for thinking her horrified expression is due to somebody chasing her with a mirror.
The CGI models for the cutscenes in Resident Evil 2 look weird. Really, really weird. If you look close enough, Claire and Leon have near-identical facial structures - glassy eyes, fish lips, and funky arm movements.
The only in-game rendered cutscene from Resident Evil is the first encountered zombie eating STARS member Kenneth. While the remake of the game softened the blow (as the zombie looks like the zombies seen starting in the second game - blank white eyes and charred flesh), the original zombie had giant eyes with dead-looking pupils and was mostly intact in terms of flesh - it's as if he were glaring. And he smiles at you. It's the uncanny valley gone horribly wrong!
The characters in Super Mario Kart look quite off due to Nintendo's attempt to have every racer rendered in 3D sprites. Koopa Troopa and the Princess suffer the worst from the uncanny valley where as their sprite rotates/adjusts, their eyes seem to move in odd positions or have one eye closed to simulate a 3/4ths view.
Link also suffers from a similar problem in The Legend of Zelda. Every time Link picks up a new item, he holds it above his head with one hand and half of his face is also raised, making it look like it's melting.
The deer player characters of The Endless Forest seem like perfectly normal deer from the back...but they have human faces.
The Titular antagonist in Ao Oni. There's a reason players have a hard time not freaking out seeing that...thing!
The character models in Fire Emblem Awakening are apparently missing their feet, apparently due to some design decisionnote 3D feet that aren't butt-ugly blocks would have added more polygons than the 3DS has the graphical grunt for, if you were wondering.. More than one reviewer was acutely bothered by this. They actually had more than enough power to pull off some decent feet instead of what we got.
While we're talking about Fire Emblem, the ds remakes of the first and third games had dove into this territory with their official artwork. The in-game mugshots avert this somehow, but the official artwork (specifically Shadow Dragon), was particularly jarring to look at, especially if we're to look at, oh I don't know, Gharnef. Go take a look for yourself over at Serenes Forest.
In one of the endings of Massmouth 2, the protagonist notes that he's creeped out by the way the Big Bad's face never seems to be facing away from him (due to the way the in-game sprites are drawn.)
OFF has the Secretaries, who are portrayed with a little too much detail for a game like this, and thus look human in the worst possible way. Also, the Elsen's wheezing gasps, particularly when they're about to attack you.
In ARMA II, all characters in-game show no emotions (no eyebrow movement) at all, becoming this when they are supposed to be smiling, laughing, crying, etc.
The way the in-game voices issue commands can also approach this, as each word the characters speak is used from pre-recorded fragments to form the commands, which thanks to the sometimes shoddy voice work can sound very different in tone and inflection between words. This leads to a very stilted, unnatural stop-start-stop speech pattern that can be both unnerving and unintentionally hysterical.
Enemy. MAN. At. TWOHUNDREDMETERS.
Deliberately invoked in Muv-Luv Alternative - each species of alien invader has at least one or two disturbingly human-like features, such as human-like teeth rather than fangs.
PAYDAY: The Heist has every single character model devoid of any form of facial animation. Nobody even bothers to blink either.
Clive Barker's Undying: Bethany's Handmaidens, who were her own creation. If you look up close they have porcelain masks like victorian dolls. Behind it there is a grotesque mockery of a face. They were her demented version of servants. Must have missed all the hired help around the mansion.
It's very easy to create a character of this nature intentionally or otherwise in Phantasy Star Online 2, due to the sheer amount of character customization it permits, allowing for realistic or anime-esque faces and everything in between. The limited amount of facial animation can make even normal-looking characters seem rather off in cutscenes, though.
Some people feel that Bayonetta and Jeanne fall into this, with their tall figures and long, skinny limbs.
In the very first South Park game (the one that was a Video Game/Turok clone), the characters were portrayed in 3D and were given realistic animations. Them being 3D isn't the bad part; the bad part is the realistic animations. Yes, they thought it was a good idea to give the characters of South Park realistic animations such as breathing and actual walking/running.
Egosoft's X-Universe series have traditionally been plagued by the uncanny valley. When the first game, X: Beyond the Frontier came out in 1999, it had decent character portraits (2d, pre-rendered) and decent voice acting, bar Mad Libs Dialogue on random NPCs. Come X3: Albion Prelude in 2011, they're still using the pretty much the same portraits as Beyond The Frontier did - a decade prior, with English voice actors that have even more odd pauses and intonations in their speech causing them to fall like a rock into the valley. X Rebirth finally revamped characters to modern standards (real-time, 3D) but a lack of variety and plethora of terrifying◊ glitches at release causes them to dip down into uncanny valley; thankfully, the NPCs Mad Libs Dialogue has been toned down and they voice actors speak in more natural tones.
The Working Joes from Alien: Isolation provide an in-universe example. The company that makes them is suggested to be far behind Weyland-Yutani technologically and can't produce the like-humans-but-not-quite-there synthetic androids the setting is known for, so they produce robots that look like bad crash test dummies cheaply for the mass market and use their less-than-perfect appearance as a marketing spin. Of course, they're still terrifying as they shrug off your firepower and give you False Reassurance while doing the The Slow Walk towards you and intending to strangle you. Not even setting them on fire slows them down.
The reception to World of Warcraft's new gnome and human models were rather mixed, with some feeling they fell right into the Uncanny Valley. Forget the Iron Horde - can we fight these monstrosities?!?
Diabetus points out this very phenomenon in Deep Fear's cutscenes during the Ronguprae of the game. Though released in 1999 for the Sega Saturn, the pre-rendered graphics resemble CGI from the beginning of the decade.
In-universe, people in Dragon Age tend to be disturbed by Nugs. They're a weird cross between bunnies and pigs...that have hands. The giant Nugs that can be rode in Dragon Age: Inquisition also have hands which seriously creep out the horsemaster in charge of the stables. In one party banter, Dorian will concede a bet with Varric when he discovers that Nugs do indeed have hands and feet. Creepy little hands and feet. Leliana on the other hand finds them adorable. In Dragon Age: Origins she can adopt one as a pet if the Warden buys it for her and she names it "Schmooples" (much to Oghren's disgust). By the time of Dragon Age: Inquisition Schmooples has sadly passed away, but his offspring Schmooples II is still in Leliana's care.
The player characters of Atlantis Underwater Tycoon run into this thanks to having very realistic faces on bodies with caricature-like proportions.